3 Ways a Holiday Can Enhance Your Story and Help Market Your Book

“I love Thanksgiving because it’s a holiday that is centered around food and family, two things that are of utmost importance to me.” — Marcus Samuelsson (Chef) 


Whether your story is humorous or suspenseful here are ways holidays can please readers and help in marketing your book.

Way 1: Family Traditions

Come up with a fresh, creative family tradition that readers can try. They’ll appreciate an idea to make their family’s holiday experience richer. The idea may also initiate getting the word out about your book as readers share it with others.

photoExample: In Calculated Risk, Nick’s family introduces Cisney to three Thanksgiving traditional events.

  • An active game in the basement among the cousins. This one shows Cisney a side of Nick that doesn’t fit her image of him in the office. (Cisney and Nick are extreme opposites.)
  • A mission project in which the whole family is involved. I think readers will find this one fresh and creative. Readers could start such a mission in their neighborhoods or churches. Although Nick is a little exasperated with Cisney at first, he learns much about her heart during this mission.
  • An outing on Thanksgiving evening with the cousins. Nick learns something about Cisney that drives him crazy and something that amuses him.
  • I used all three of these traditions to add something to my giveaway basket of goodies I talked about in a recent post.

Fresh holiday traditions in your story could start buzz about your book. Click to tweet.

 Way 2: Delicious Holiday Foods

Recipes, recipes, recipes. Get readers salivating for the food and then give them recipes on your website or in your newsletters. Also, use at least one food in some kind of conflict readers will remember.

Image courtesy of amenic181 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Example: In Calculated Risk, Nick looks forward to his mother’s snowflake rolls.

  • Those rolls instigate some problems between Cisney and Nick that raises Grandpa’s eyebrows at the Thanksgiving table. I plan to offer a recipe for the rolls in a newsletter. My research said they’re easy to make.
  • Sweet potatoes become a retaliatory food for Cisney. Grandpa’s smile shows his approval. The events with the food are subtle but memorable.

Holiday food in your stories can generate recipes to use on your website and newsletter. Click to tweet.

 Way 3: Family & Friends

In past manuscripts, I avoided including family members of my main characters in my stories. I felt like I dropped them in, and they didn’t add much to the story. BUT when I included a holiday that’s all about family and friends, characters were easy to write. They were necessary “props.”

256px-Charles_Green01Example: In Calculated Risk, Nick adores his family, but some members exasperate him, especially when it comes to the way they admire Cisney.

  • Nick rooms with his cousin Tony. They’re almost as opposite as Cisney and Nick. Tony challenges Nick’s desire to keep his life private.
  • Nick’s younger sister and best friend fuel Cisney with handy information about Nick.

Holidays in your story lend an easy way to introduce characters’ family members. Click to tweet.

 What is your favorite holiday novel and why?

5 Tips on Building Relationships For Your Success

**Welcome to my blog on my new website (zoemmccarthy.com). I hope you enjoy the new look!**

“If you give to others, you will be given a full amount in return. It will be packed down, shaken together, and spilling over into your lap. The way you treat others is the way you will be treated.”  —Luke 6:38 CEV


by DuBoix
by DuBoix

Recently, I’ve heard repeatedly if you want to succeed you must build relationships first. Here are five tips to ease your effort.

Tip 1: Relationships that improve your success must be genuine.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m taking classes and reading blogs on marketing. The primary goal stressed is to build relationships. But immediately following that point is:


  • In working to build relationships, you must genuinely desire to help others. click to tweet

You must want the other person to succeed; you gladly do tasks for their benefit. In groups I belong to, this active support includes spending time praying for each other.

Building relationships falls apart if you expect help in return. You’ll get disgruntled when it doesn’t come in the manner you want. Resentfulness doesn’t feel like success.

“Instead of manipulating people for our own purposes, we help them achieve what is best for them. We also try to see life through their eyes. Treat others the way you would want them to treat you.” —Billy Graham

Tip 2: The more you do for others; the more others will do for you.

But the prize while forming this habit is that you grow to enjoy helping others. And watching them succeed. Your general care for others becomes personal and natural.

Tip 3: Being an extrovert or introvert has little to do with building relationships for your success.

I’ve learned it’s whether people charge you with energy or drain you of energy that classifies you as an extrovert or introvert. Not necessarily how talkative or shy you are. I’m an introvert but readily express myself one-on-one.

Regardless of type, you make genuine relationships one person at a time.

by luisrock62
by luisrock62

Tip 4: Strong family relationships are essential while you build relationships outside your household.

I think Billy Graham warns us well:

“We have exchanged love of family and home for cyberfriends and living in constant motion that robs the soul from memories – and perhaps from that still, small voice that longs to be heard. —Billy Graham


  • Building relationships for success starts in the family. click to tweet

Tip 5: You can’t do everything yourself.


  • Like it or not, we need others; we’d fail at probably 80% of what we do all alone. click to tweet
Image courtesy of bplanet / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of bplanet / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My brother-in-law, a retired company executive, always noted his own weaknesses. Then he hired people who excelled in those weaknesses. He was more concerned about building relationships for success than feeling threatened by his staff.

Another example. I plan to make baskets of goodies related to the events and characters in my book. I’ll give them away at celebrations of my book release. I’ve had fun buying the goodies.

I’ve wondered how I’ll make the baskets look inviting. Then I remembered a lovely basket a church member made to collect notes and cards. We’ve developed a friendship though the prayers and bits of encouragement I’ve offered during a difficult time. I’ll ask her to help me. I picture me serving her lunch and us having fun packaging the baskets together.

What tips do you have about building relationships for success?